Chicago Tribune newsroom was eerily quiet on the day before Christmas.
As I sat at my desk with little to do, my mind kept wandering back to a
family I had encountered a month earlier while I was working on a series
of articles about Chicago’s neediest people”
These are the opening words of the
introduction in ’The Case for Christmas’ by Lee Strobel. As he thought
about this family (a grandmother and her two granddaughters) he decided
to go and visit them again that day and he was amazed at what he found.
The newspaper readers had responded to his article and given many gifts
including money. He was even more amazed that this family was preparing
to give away many of these gifts and when he asked them why they were
doing this they replied “Our
neighbours are still in need. We cannot have plenty while they have
nothing. This is what Jesus would want us to do.”
The grandmother went on to say that the next
day they would be celebrating an even greater gift from God - the gift
of Jesus. He goes on to say that to this family “the
child in the manger was the undeserved gift that meant everything -more
than material possessions, more than comfort, more than security. And at
that moment, something inside of me wanted desperately to know this
Jesus. They had peace despite poverty, while I had anxiety despite
plenty; they knew the joy of generosity, while I only knew the
loneliness of ambition” .
Some time later, prompted by his intriguing
memories of this family and his wife’s conversion to Christianity, he
decided to get to the bottom of what he considered to be a crucial
issue; ‘Who was in the manger on that first Christmas morning?’ Using
excerpts from his book ‘The Case for Christ’ he retraces and expands on
his original investigations to look at this issue. He looks at evidence
available from experts on the Bible, archaeology and messianic prophecy
as he investigates the true identity of the child in the manger.
Another publication looking at Christmas is a
little booklet with the title ‘The Cradle, Cross and Crown’ by
Billy Graham. In this booklet he shares devotional reflections, verses
of scripture, some words from Christmas carols and quotes to show how
events in Bethlehem connect to the cross and
Christ’s return. He sums it up by saying
“ This is God’s gift of Christmas:
gift, to be complete, must be received !”
This booklet is good for those who prefer to
read short passages rather than very detailed text.
‘The Case for Christmas’
and ‘The Cradle, Cross and Crown’ are £3.99 each.
‘The Baby Born at Christmas’
is a colourful little book introducing the
Christmas story to children. It has lovely illustrations on each page
and the simple text begins with the angel’s visit to Mary. It goes on to
tell of Mary’s visit to Elizabeth, the journey to Bethlehem, the birth
of Jesus, the shepherds and then finishes with the visit of the wise men
with their gifts.
‘The Wonder of Christmas’
is another colourful little book for children.
It also has illustrations on each page and starts with the angel’s
appearance to Mary. It then covers all the main events; travelling to
Bethlehem, the birth of Jesus, the shepherds and the wise men with their
These two books for children are inexpensive
at £ 1.99 each.